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BLACK NIGHTS 2019 First Feature Competition

Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival announces its not-so-hateful eight


- Black Nights has announced the first eight films due to compete in the First Feature Competition programme, all scheduled to have their world premieres in Estonia

Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival announces its not-so-hateful eight
Mater by Jure Pavlović

The Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF, 15 November-1 December) has unveiled the first eight titles in its First Feature Competition, all scheduled to have their world premieres at the Estonian gathering. “It is a great honour and an even greater responsibility to host the world premiere of an artist’s debut, thus extra-special consideration is always given by the team to the selection of these films. Is this the right movie for us? But even more importantly, are we the right festival for this film?” PÖFF director and programme director Tiina Lokk told Cineuropa. “Having said that, we are over the moon to be sharing 2019’s First Feature selection, which, for us, is an exciting combination of countries and topics, artistically rewarding and challenging at the same time.” Showcasing international debuts by promising new filmmakers, the competition will be overseen by an international jury, to be announced later in October, which will hand out the €5,000 grant to be shared by the director and producer of the winning film, alongside two Special Prizes for artistic achievements.

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The UK’s Looted by Rene Pannevis teases an eclectic cast, from This Is England [+see also:
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’s Thomas Turgoose to cinema royalty Morgane Polanski. It follows a working-class youngster trying to take care of his ailing father and stay on the right side of the tracks. Expectations are also high for the similarly parent-centred feature debut by Jure Pavlović, Mater, with the Croatian filmmaker moving in a different direction after his award-winning shorts, including the European Film Award-winning Piknik. He now turns his full attention to Jasna as she returns to her hometown to help her bedridden mother, still unwilling to relinquish any authority despite her failing body. Likewise, Uruguay’s Matías Ganz won’t be afraid of a bit of darkness in the French co-production A Dog’s Death, in which an experienced vet makes a mistake, and then swiftly decides to hide it, unaware that the consequences will soon take their toll on everyone around him.

Wanphrang Diengdoh will present the story of Shem (Life of Pi’s Adil Hussain) in Lorni – The Flaneur, in which a struggling private investigator is finally given a chance to escape his everyday, humdrum existence when he comes across an unusual robbery. The movie is clearly influenced by Charles Baudelaire and sees the protagonist wandering the streets of a labyrinth-like city, bubbling with racial tensions. Emotions will also run high in Saul at Night, already labelled as “lo-fi sci-fi” by its helmer, Cory Santilli. Featuring one of Xavier Dolan’s regulars, Suzanne Clement, it shows just how far you can go to secure a proper sleep cycle for your citizens. “It is, in the best sense of the word, a proud feeling to be holding world premieres for films where you can see an emerging talent working with such a professional directorial hand and, in some cases, with experienced and award-winning actors, such as Suzanne Clement, the winner of the Un Certain Regard Prize for Laurence Anyways [+see also:
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film profile
, in Saul at Night, or Adil Hussain in Lorni – The Flaneur,” added Lokk.

In The Seeker, Brazilian director (as well as actor, writer and producer) Bernardo Barreto will focus on a bohemian couple in their thirties, living in a commune of “free spirits” yet having to face a traditional Father’s Day visit to the girl’s parents’ house. This is a prospect made all the more daunting by the fact that this gathering of the privileged angers a crowd that has come to the gates to protest, as the beloved dad is apparently facing some corruption charges. Rounding off the first batch of titles are Dust and Ashes from South Korea’s Park Hee-kwon, a minimalistic, documentary-like character study of a young woman stuck doing odd jobs while organising her mother’s funeral, and The Names of the Flowers by Bahman Tavoosi, which takes a closer look at a rural area of Bolivia as it prepares for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s death. An elderly teacher is invited to share her story of giving a bowl of soup to the captured fighter, just a few hours before his death. Predictably, the problems soon mount up, with others coming forward, claiming this memory as their own.

The full line-up will be revealed next week. Here is the list of titles announced so far:

Looted - Rene Pannevis (UK)
Mater - Jure Pavlović (Croatia/Serbia/France/Bosnia-Herzegovina)
A Dog’s Death - Matías Ganz (Uruguay/France/Argentina)
Lorni - The Flaneur - Wanphrang Diengdoh (India)
Saul at Night - Cory Santilli (USA)
The Seeker - Bernardo Barreto (Brazil)
Dust and Ashes - Park Hee-kwon (South Korea)
The Names of the Flowers - Bahman Tavoosi (Bolivia/Qatar/USA/Canada)

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